Don’t Fall For The Acai Berry Rebill Scam

Scams come and go in the supplement industry, and while apparently this one has been going on a while, it’s a big one.  Acai Berry a berry from South America, which like all “miracle foods” before it, promises to cure pretty much everything, is right at the heart of a scam which has cost the US public millions of dollars and a lot of frustration.

Acai is sold for everything from weight loss, muscle building,  and anti aging, to a cure for cancer.

Minus of course a drop of real science to support the claims and marketed as “the world’s No. 1 super-food” and other BS … Interestingly, this scam has two faces, one the product itself, the other, the real biggie,  the way it’s billed. Par for the course with such products,  the marketing hype far surpasses the science.

Let’s talk about the billing scam first.

Although not only associated with Acai products, this scam seems to have gone hand in hand with Acai products presumably because people are  so desperate to lose weight they will buy into anything that looks like it’s got the edge.

The scam often goes like this:

You click on some tantalizing advert somewhere and  find a web site offering a free bottle of product or a website showing you where you can get a free bottle of the supplements.

Generally speaking you initially end up on  a fake blog, you can spot them a mile away , they tend to be called something like “Janets-weightlossblog.com” ( I made that up , no idea if it exists) .

The blog / website shows faked testimonials, and before and after  photos of “Janet”  which have clearly been edited with software like Adobe Photo Shop, Janet , by the way , doesn’t exist, never did, Janet is typically just a stock photo grabbed from the internet, the name a figment of the scammers imagination.

“Janet” then goes on to explain how she tried everything, blah blah, and how she set up the website just to “help” people out like her, she then goes on to explain how she used this amazing product and how you can get a  bottle for free and also lose 30lbs in 30 days.

The websites often show Youtube videos of Oprah or a major news outlet,  supposedly correlating the ridiculous claims about the product. Fortunately for the scammers I guess nobody actually clicks and plays the videos because they tend to have absolutely nothing to do with the claims being made by the website promoting the product.

In fact it would seem Oprah and other celebrities are trying to sue the firms promoting Acai using their images or suggesting they support their ludicrous claims.

Back to the fake blogs.

The person who set this fake blog/website up  then gets paid by the advertiser everytime somebody takes out the free trial. (Note, I’ve also actually seen them setup fake newspaper websites as well as blogs, these guys are pretty tricky).

You’re probably thinking ,  how can they get paid if the product’s being given away for free, read on my friends….

It’s only “FREE” on the surface, it’s actually anything but FREE.

Here’s the nasty part of the Acai Berry rebill scam.

They charge a “nominal fee for shipping and handling”, like $5, this has little to do with the handling and everything to do with getting your credit card details.

What follows then  are  unauthorized credit card charges – some up to $80 per month – that can’t be stopped.

This has happened all over the ‘net, and people have had to cancel their credit cards to get it to stop. Sure, some companies have gotten nailed for this, but many still get away with it.  For example, according to an ABC News Report:

“FWM Labs, based in Hollywood, Fla., maintained a Web site promoting acai capsules. The site offered a “free” sample for a nominal fee for shipping and handling.

What followed, authorities say, were unauthorized $80 monthly credit card charges that couldn’t be stopped.

WPLG, ABC’s Miami affiliate, tried to talk with the company in person — and was referred to the company’s attorneys.

Alleged victims said they had to cancel their credit cards to get charges to stop. FWM finally agreed to pay $200,000 in penalties, refund millions to customers and stop its allegedly misleading marketing.”

The Take Home Lesson on the Rebill Saga..

Lesson here folks, nothing of this nature is truly  free, so if you see one of these fake blogs or fake newspaper sites offering free product that you just have to give your credit card info to cover shipping and handling fees – be it an acai product or other – be wary.

There’s nothing wrong with paying monthly for legit supplements, or a wine club or indeed a myriad of other things but if you end up at one of these fake blogs then run a mile, “Janet” never existed, your card will be rebilled for huge amounts each month, you won’t be able to contact the company , they won’t take your calls, the only option will be to cancel your card.

I should note that these guys running the Acai Berry rebill scam also rebadge Acai Berry for numerous uses, weight loss, colon cleanse, muscle building, there’s even some running for penis enlargement and confidence boosters. Beware , these guys come in many forms, but the websites are pretty easy to suss out.

So what of acai itself? Yes, it’s a berry – like many others – loaded with anti oxidants, and like many such fruits, may have some potential health benefits. It has no real weight loss effects, will not cure cancer, will not improve your libido, etc.

Food scientist in the U.S., at Texas A&M University, Dr. Steve Talcott sums it up well in the ABC News report

“It’s not a miracle berry, unfortunately. It is superior in antioxidants; it does have a very high antioxidant capacity. There is some really unique chemistry to the fruit. But it’s not a drug. It’s not a miracle, cure-all fruit. I mean this is a dietary component. The recommendation is to incorporate these fruits into our diet, but don’t use them as drugs.”

Brink Bottom Line: Acai – like most “super foods” that make ridiculous promises not supported by the science, are usually sold via multi level marketing companies (MLM) and or fly by night ‘net based companies, and my faith in both is non existent. Acai, like most dark fruits, berries, etc is high in anti oxidants, and perfectly healthy as part of an overall nutrition and exercise plan, but don’t get swept up in the marketing hype, and what ever you do, don’t fall for the re bill scam by giving out your credit card info for a “free” bottle of product.

If somebody you trust doesn’t recommend it and it’s asking for your card details and you found it from some scammy looking blog, then my advice – run a mile in the opposite direction.

If you find any links to these fake blogs then let me know, we will out them.

22 Comments
  1. Dave 9 years ago

    Here’s one of those fake newspaper sites.
    http://www.menshealth8.com/international/index.html
    I bet mens health wouldn’t be to happy if they saw it either

  2. SoreButtCheeks 9 years ago

    I’ve been doing plenty of research into steroid abd bb blogs and it appears that 9 out of 10 you find on search engines are a scam ( most trying to sell the same lame ebooks )

  3. G O'Connor 9 years ago

    Well good I saw this as I did exactly what you wrote not to do!!!
    I immediately cancelled my card not to get entrapped in this cycle..
    This was in an advertisement I saw in Facebook..saying to test a product and get $1500 for being part of a survey…
    Seemed like a good at the time.
    I did get the product – Acai Berry – for weight loss – with no instructions really how to do the survey … just in an email they said I should fill a report on how I feel daily…
    The email I received was from dietstudy@womenshealthdigest.com
    Nichole Headman
    Study Coordination Team
    Seemed real…I have written to them twice but I have had no reply so far…
    So be it..
    I cancelled my card so no real harm done…for me anyway…

  4. makster 9 years ago

    It’s hard to believe people still fall for these things. Nothing is for free. Most weight loss and diet products are marginally usefull at best.
    Will, glad to see you are trying to weed them out.

  5. Deb 9 years ago

    Will,
    Here’s another website that is made to look like a news article that popped up when I was doing a completely different search:
    http://www.weeklyhealthusa.org/latest/articles/breakthroughdiet/vc/us/
    Go get ’em!

  6. Joe 9 years ago

    Something ive also noticed is most of the time on the blogs you cant add posts it says that the post section is free. And if you scroll down to the very bottom there is sometimes small print that basically says its not a real blog or story. People really need to look closer at things on the internet before they buy them especially if they say they are for free.

  7. Rachelle 9 years ago

    Thank you so much for this educational tid-bit of info.
    I was almost a resent victim of this scam.I had been considering for a while trying this “miracle berry” but didnt have a credit card to get my “free trial”!
    Here is where I lucked out. I bought a prepaid credit card and charged the 5.95 shipping fee to it. On my e-mail I was told that it was confirmed and that my order would be sent asap.
    Not more than a few days later I got an e-mail from the company saying that they were unable to bill my card the “membership fee” that is required to get your “free” trial of the product.
    Needless to say they were unable to charge my card any extra and I was saved alot of grief.
    Take home lesson……
    Never use your credit card for “free” promotional products if you are not fully aware of the company. When making small onetime purchases, maybe just get a prepaid creditcard, they cant keep billing you and ruin your credit, plus you dont have to cancel your credit card when some scammer tries to do there dirty on you!

    • Author
      Will Brink 9 years ago

      Rachelle, glad you didn’t get scammed. I have no problems using a credit card online, but I only do so with companies I can vouch for and are well known to me.

  8. Bob H 9 years ago

    Will , here is a website and a product that claims to have university studies and a formalization pateint backing it up .
    Please check it out and let me know what you find.
    http://www.maxgxl.com/105339
    Thanks ,
    Bob

  9. Dave 9 years ago

    Can’t speak for Will Bob, but that kind of site is nothing like the kind of site Will is talking about in his blog post.

  10. Miles 9 years ago

    http://onlinenews6.com/HEALTH/Acai-Berry/index.php
    Here’s another scam site to check out 🙂
    Looks like a ‘news/flog’ to me.

  11. H. Ghr 9 years ago

    Something ive also noticed is most of the time on the blogs you cant add posts it says that the post section is free. And if you scroll down to the very bottom there is sometimes small print that basically says its not a real blog or story. People really need to look closer at things on the internet before they buy them especially if they say they are for free.

  12. Mikael 9 years ago

    yes, I’ve seen a lot of these lately. I knew something was fishy, because you can’t lose weight by adding berries to your diet, but I never thought they scammed by rebilling.
    Many years ago I was rebilled by a scammer, and the only thing I could do was to cancel my credit card.
    Thanks for writing about this.

  13. Sebastian 9 years ago

    Awesome article! This type of marketing is also being used for the new type of “electronic cigarette” as well as a bunch of other things such as stretch mark creams, anti-aging, etc., sold online… HOWEVER, pretty much EVERY SINGLE WEBSITE that I ever saw online (and I see at least one every other day) that used this type of marketing ALWAYS had a “Terms & Conditions” link either on top or bottom of a page (either a link taking you to a page explaining everything or just a short paragraph in very small, fine print) sooooo….basically it all boils down to making sure you actually READ the conditions of the product you wish to buy as they are NOT hiding that you will be rebilled each months…ALL of the terms are in there…just have to READ them! As for all the other immoral/illegal things they do in terms of customer service/unreturned phone calls, etc., I’m sure that’s the case too but my experience has been that usually everything is always spelled out in the ‘terms and conditions’ page (which doesn’t mean I would recommend buying anything via this type of marketing 😉

  14. Chad 9 years ago

    http//www.weeklthealthusa.org/latest/articles/breakthroughdiet/vc/us/
    Karmi , Will catch up with the scammers

  15. H: Ghpills 9 years ago

    I was almost a resent victim of this scam.I had been considering for a while trying this “miracle berry” but didnt have a credit card to get my “free trial”! Here is where I lucked out. I bought a prepaid credit card and charged the 5.95 shipping fee to it. On my e-mail I was told that it was confirmed and that my order would be sent asap. Not more than a few days later I got an e-mail from the company saying that they were unable to bill my card the “membership fee” that is required to get your “free” trial of the product.

  16. Margrett Northum 9 years ago

    Curious to see oprahs next “great idea”

  17. Mozelle Hudek 8 years ago

    I’ve no time for individuals that eat like pigs after which look for magic pills, diets and programs. When you eat a lot of, you’ll be fat no mater what. And i am not particularly slim but I actually do run and feel healthy, without feeling hungry all the time. Get a grip people!

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